Some huge records in part four.
After another incredible 12 months in music, we've rounded up the best, brightest and most life-changing records of 2017.
The full list appears in our current issue, the Rock Sound Awards powered by EMP!
Here's part four...
20. CODE ORANGE
Coming from undoubtedly one of the most exciting bands metal has produced in a decade, this third album sent shockwaves across the globe upon its release – just days into 2017. Produced by Converge guitarist and noise guru Kurt Ballou, it was an album that mixed ferocious brute force with some truly haunting undertones, transforming its creators into the most talked-about heavy band on the planet. Absolutely incredible.
19. DEAF HAVANA
‘ALL THESE COUNTLESS NIGHTS’
In a career where they’ve worn many different identities, ‘All These Countless Nights’ represented by far Deaf Havana’s most focused, forward-thinking and best. Slow-burning, intricately woven and overflowing with massive rock hooks – held together by James Veck-Gilodi's unmistakably soulful croon – this was Havana becoming the band they’ve always threatened to be. With songs this huge, are arenas beckoning? We wouldn't say no.
After years of falling firmly into the category of also-rans, this self-tiled effort announced that Palisades are not to be underestimated. Built on a foundation of sky-high melodies and some truly sublime electronic flourishes, this third album was an unexpected but undeniable triumph. In an age of mammoth shocks and earth-shaking upsets, this one ranked as highly as virtually any of them… politics aside, of course.
17. SLEEP ON IT
Poignant, polished – but not too polished – and gunning for both listeners’ hearts and minds, this was a truly special pop-punk album. With a little help from State Champs’ Derek DiScanio (who co-produced and guested on the heart-stoppingly gorgeous ‘Fireworks’) the Chicago five-piece made familiar stories of doubt, hope and faltering love sound both fresh and hugely relatable. If you’re searching for music that’ll move you, look no further.
16. THE GOSPEL YOUTH
Music doesn't get much more intense and raw than this. With a lifetime of sadness to delve into and the heartbreaking vocals of Sam Little leading the charge, ‘Always Lose’ was an honest, open and all-too-real album that clung to us and wouldn’t let go – and demonstrated that The Gospel Youth are real emo contenders. Be warned though, you may need a box of tissues close by. It gets pretty deep.
This one kind of came out of nowhere. A bit of early buzz hinted that Grayscale had chops, but not many saw an album this expansive or this good on the way. ‘Adornment’ boasted a newer, fresher take on modern pop-punk, and songs like ‘Atlantic’ proved this band can follow the likes of Knuckle Puck and Neck Deep and become one of the best alt.pop-punk bands in the game.
14. STICK TO YOUR GUNS
Turning his gaze inward and baring his demons for the world to see, frontman Jesse Barnett led these Orange County veterans through yet another modern hardcore masterclass. It takes incredible songwriting prowess to get circle pits spinning and convince listeners to contemplate their own life choices, but that’s exactly what they achieved here – throwing in some of their most intense and engagingly melodic songs yet for good measure.
13. AS IT IS
Not many people knew what to expect from As It Is in 2017, but in ‘okay.’ they built on breakout debut ‘Never Happy, Ever After’ in a bold, assured way. Huge, surprisingly raw singles like ‘Hey Rachel’ and ‘Pretty Little Distance’ made sure of that, helped the band negotiate their Difficult Second Album nimbly and what’s more, added up to something with real lasting value.
Seaway have always produced some special moments, but with ‘Vacation’ they forged absolute pop-punk perfection. Featuring songs about falling in love, dealing with heartbreak and taking your dog for a walk on the beach, the band combined their passions for heart, positivity and boyband peppiness to make an album that is brimming with youthful innocence, and, more than anything, timeless songwriting. We’ll vacation here for many summers to come.
‘ETERNITY, IN YOUR ARMS’
Following up a trilogy of astonishing EPs was never going to be easy – but Creeper made it look that way with this grand, fearlessly ambitious debut album. Overflowing with gothic drama and outsider anthems like ‘Suzanne’, this was a rare example of a band shooting for the moon, and pulling it off. Yet the quieter moments, like Hannah Greenwood’s haunting star turn on ‘Crickets’, ensured there were boundless depths beyond the spectacle.